Primary Education & District Councils

Editor,

Sometime last week the debate on Primary Education vis-à-vis the District Councils came back in public domain.As one involved as the Administrator of Primary Education in Khasi Hills when Govt. took over the administration from the Khasi Hills District Council in 1983, I wish to put the actual record in its proper perspective. In 1979-80 the primary school teachers of Garo Hills, Jaintia Hills and Khasi Hills organized themselves under the banner of the All Meghalaya Primary School Teachers’ Association and agitated against the respective District Councils for non-payment of their salaries ranging from 8 to 10 months.  The agitation was so severe that the total system of Primary Education in the three district councils was paralysed. The funds (teacher salaries) released by the State Govt. to the three District Councils were misused or misappropriated and as a result teachers were denied their hard earned salaries for months together.

The blame game between the State govt. and the District Councils continued and this necessitated that the State Govt. through the District Council Affairs Department set up three Commissions of enquiry in 1980(Garo Hills),1982 (Jaintia Hills) and 1983 (Khasi Hills).The Khasi Hills Commission was chaired by Mr SK Dutta former Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court. Each Commission recommended that the State Govt.should take over the administration of Primary Education from the District Councils. Under the provisions of the 6th Schedule Govt.can take over the administration of Primary Schools six months at a time and this was extended from time to time. Realising the problem of long term planning of primary education, the State Govt introduced the Meghalaya (Taking over of District Councils/Lower Primary School) Act, 1993. Ever since, primary education has been under the control of the State govt.

Education now is in the concurrent list. It is no longer the sole prerogative of the State or the District Council.There is a saying, ‘fools rush in where angels fear to tread.’ School education is now more complex.We are expected to prepare children to be equipped for the future.Academicians and social scientists are debating on what kind of world we’ll live in say in 2030, 2040, 2050.We have a foggy notion what the future would look like, to start making vital decisions in education policy and school programmes. Even today many people have stopped writing and spend time keying and relying on spellcheck.In earlier days sharp memory and retaining information were considered valuable skills but with zettebytes of information available these skills may become redundant.With a cashless, paperless, robotic, cloud  and artificial intelligence application that are at our disposal we wonder what kind of society our children will live in, in the future. New kinds of skills would be required such as processing-applying data, communication, teamwork, problem solving, enterprise planning, learning technology, self management techniques etc. The above are some topics we would need to incorporate in our academic programmes. I call upon our youths whose idealism are fresh and sincere, who have to face an uncertain future, to ponder on these issues and for parents to start demanding for an all encompassing system of education.

Yours etc

Torist Mark,

Former Director, Education

Meghalaya

Untenable Nepal

Editor,
The Prime Minister of Nepal K P Sharma Oli has lost the confidence of his own country. Due to his anti-India remarks, top leaders of Nepal have demanded the resignation of the Prime Minister. The behaviour and actions of Nepal are “neither politically correct nor diplomatically appropriate,” at present. It shows that Nepal is facing an untenable position. The Indo-Nepal bilateral ties came under strain after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated an 80-km long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8. The current political situation is not good for both countries. It would be better if Nepal initiates talks with India at the earliest, resolves bilateral issues and resumes the good neighbourly relations again.

Yours etc.,

Amit Singh Kushwaha,

Satna, MP

On  Chinese Apps

Editor,

China is rapidly becoming one of the most exciting regions of information technology and digital innovation. The Chinese smart phone industry has no parallel at all with the incredible advancement of technology and innovation blended together to leave the world in awe. It is true that Southeast Asia has become an emerging market with booming digital growth and it is always the region where innovative technology in electronic industries has kept the world enthused.

 Admittedly, India is not bitten by the bug of this innovative technology in a big way but our billion plus population are a fertile market for Chinese electronic products. However, the recent straining of relations between India and China consequent on the killing of 20  Indian soldiers has forced India to ban many smart phone Chinese apps in a bid to retaliate against the Chinese’s obdurate stand on the border issue. Now as many as 59 Chinese apps are being banned in India on national security grounds. China is fuming and Chinese embassy officials in New Delhi have said they suspect India’s move violates World Trade Organisation guidelines.

China must know that it is a big, promising country that offers varied, dynamic and innovative technologies and leads the world today. Hence it should also believe in give and take policies. If it wants to protect its economic and other interests, it should behave in a manner that defines diplomacy and shed its obstinate attitude. As a display of penitence, China must be ready to forfeit the territory it encroached on Indian Territory.  But it is unlikely that China will come down and become more mellowed or toned-down.

At the same time, people of India have had some inconveniences when the country decided to ban the 59 Chinese apps. Among these the most popular Tik Tok is also banned, which has saddened a large section of people. Who is to blame for this? China is solely responsible for all this sad and sudden developments. Chinese apps are all good and friendly except for the fact that these apps were created in China. So, if the companies making these apps are uprooted from China and planted elsewhere, surely, these apps can be operated independently and serve the people for whom they have been designed and created. Anyway, an ideal country will be that, which nurtures and promotes all kinds of companies. If it wants to gain influence and market share abroad, it should never irritate other countries especially those countries where its products are marketed extensively.

Yours etc.,

TK Nandanan,

Via email

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